Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, December 6, 1999

W A H I N E _ V O L L E Y B A L L

Wahine focus
on Texas A&M

The NCAA women's volleyball
tournament enters
regional play

By Cindy Luis


Consider it the NCAA's version of musical chairs. Sixteen teams now go on to four regional sites this week, all scrambling to get the final four seats at the Dec. 16 national semifinals at the Stan Sheriff Center.

When the second-round music stopped yesterday, 16 teams had regional seats, including a couple of surprises. Still swinging away with the heavyweights is Northern Iowa (30-0), whose two tallest players are 6-foot-1.

And two host teams are breathing big sighs of relief after surviving five-game second-round scares. Fourth-seeded Pacific held off four match points against Michigan, 10-15, 16-14, 15-3, 12-15, 19-17, and Illinois fell short at fifth-seeded Florida, 15-8, 7-15, 16-14, 9-15, 15-12.

"If people didn't believe there was parity this season, all they have to do is look at some of the results,'' said Hawaii coach Dave Shoji last night. "Minnesota beating USC isn't that big of an upset but Illinois taking Florida to five at Florida, and Michigan having four match balls on Pacific at Pacific shows you how strong and how very even this field is.''

Next up for the third-seeded Wahine (29-1) is Thursday's regional match with Texas A&M (27-5). Aggie head coach Laurie Corbelli opened the press conference after Friday's win over North Carolina by saying, "Aloha!''

In Thursday's first match at 5 p.m., Long Beach State (29-3) takes on Colorado State (30-2). The 49ers advanced by sweeping Arkansas Saturday, 3-0, while the Rams defeated Kansas State, 3-1, on Friday.

"Our region is as tough as the other three,'' said Shoji. "Right now, all we're looking at is Texas A&M. And we are concerned about them.''

Hawaii has yielded the second-fewest points against its two tournament opponents, giving up just 27 total points in matches against Prairie View A&M and Utah. Penn State has allowed 22 points in its victories over Robert Morris and Baylor.

The Wahine held their banquet last night at the Hawaiian Regent Hotel. Seniors Heather Bown and Heidi Ilustre were honored as team captains while the most inspirational award went to freshman setter/defensive specialist Margaret Vakasausau.

In highlights of matches around the country:

Bullet Senior outside hitter Elsa Stegemann established a school and NCAA Tournament record for kills in a single match with 46 to lead Pacific over Michigan, 3-2, in Stockton, Calif., Saturday.

Bullet Senior Kerri Walsh recorded Stanford's first-triple-double of the season to lift the Cardinal over Santa Clara, 3-1, Saturday. Walsh had 14 kills, 13 digs and a season-high 11 blocks against the Broncos as the Cardinals won their 43rd straight at home.

Bullet Cheryl Weaver had 14 kills, six blocks and a career-high 21 digs to lead Long Beach State over Arkansas, 3-0, Saturday.

Bullet Florida's Jenny Whitehead put down a career-high 28 kills as the Gators rallied past Illinois, 3-2, for their 28th consecutive victory.

Bullet The Sweet 16 field was completed yesterday when UCLA defeated Ohio State, 15-10, 15-6, 15-11, in the final second-round match. Kristee Porter led the Bruins with 19 kills and 10 digs.
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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